The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) have praised 31 U.S. House lawmakers who recently protested a policy change that drastically has reduced coverage for customized, or compounded, prescription medications in the Department of Defense's (DOD) TRICARE health care program.
In a letter to DOD, the lawmakers said TRICARE billing changes have "greatly impacted" patients' access to compounded drugs.
"We understand these recent changes are in response to deceptive marketing practices conducted by a select few compounders," they said. "While we believe deceptive entities should be pursued and dealt with accordingly, TRICARE beneficiaries should not be denied access to compounded medications due to a few bad actors."
The lawmakers also asked TRICARE leaders to "review and revise the current rule changes to ensure military personnel across the country have the ability to use the pharmacy of their choice for the medications they need while using targeted tools to eliminate current bad actors."
"These representatives speak for many community pharmacists and their patients who struggle with this new policy and appreciate the lawmakers' efforts," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said. "Quite simply, TRICARE must achieve a better balance: ensure patient access to medication their doctor has prescribed and crack down on those out to abuse the program."
Baylor Rice, vice president and chairman of IACP's Reimbursement and Third-Party Committee, agreed.
"Each day, our pharmacy members have to inform TRICARE beneficiaries that the compounded medicines their doctor has prescribed for them are no longer covered," Rice said. "Although we may be able to work with the prescriber to develop a similar formulation that does not include bulk ingredients, some compounded prescriptions require the use of bulk ingredients, and TRICARE's policy not covering bulk ingredients has a direct, negative impact on our servicemen and women.
"However, as compounders, we know how important continued therapy is to positive health care outcomes, and we should remain committed to finding a solution that will benefit those individuals serving our country and their families," Rice said.
For more information about the National Community Pharmacists Association, visit www.ncpanet.org, visit Facebook.com/commpharmacy, or follow the NCPA on Twitter @Commpharmacy.
Information about the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists can be found online at www.iacprx.org.